For years now, we’ve relied on the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) standard to help us track some very basic data for courses that are accessed from learning management systems (LMSs). Basically, we use SCORM to track course completion, the time required, whether learners passed or failed, and what their score was. This information is available to anyone who has the ability to view the reports. The question I always ask is, how often is this data even looked at outside of tracking compliance courseware? Although I see the importance of what it does and agree that it has played an important role in managing learning, I believe we may have outgrown it. The data that it gives us, while important, is very narrow when we consider the possibilities for learning today. There have been many important changes in learning and development over the past decade, and we’ve come to realize that a majority of the learning takes place outside an LMS. I’m not going to say that we no longer need LMSs; however, I believe that an LMS today should look a lot different than it did 10 years ago.
What I’m talking about in this article is the amount of learning that takes place outside an LMS. We have so much information available to us these days, and we can access it not only from our desktop computers but from our mobile devices, anytime and anywhere—dare I say at the point of need? In the last decade or so, we’ve seen the rise of informal and social learning—or I should say that we’ve come to recognize that this is how a great deal of learning takes place. Many organizations have multiple internal systems that act as conduits to all this content. We have systems like SharePoint portals, and internal social networks such as Jive or Yammer. We also have networks of internal websites filled with valuable information that’s available for us to consume.